Abstract

Introduction: Many people experience persistent symptoms for more than 12 weeks following SARS-CoV-2 infection, which is known as post-COVID-19 condition (PCS) or Long COVID (LC). PCS can impair people's quality of life and daily functioning. However, there is a lack of in-depth research exploring the PCS patient journey, as well as gendered aspects of patients' experiences. Methods: Nineteen semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with people living with PCS in the United Kingdom (13 women, 6 men). Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed inductively using reflexive thematic analysis. Results: Five main themes were identified: ‘Symptom dismissal’, ‘Lack of information and support’, ‘Life before and after Long COVID’, ‘Psychological impact’ and ‘Acceptance’. A shift overtime to self-management of symptoms was evident. These themes represent different stages of patients' PCS journey. Narratives indicated that women highlighted dismissal by healthcare professionals (HCPs), which was not as prominent in men's narratives. In addition, women went into more detail about the psychological impact of PCS compared to men. Conclusion: Women with PCS reported symptom dismissal by HCPs, which may have delayed their diagnosis and negatively affected their well-being. We were not able to explore the experiences of people from non-conforming gender groups. Raising awareness of these issues among HCPs, particularly general practitioners, could improve patient care in PCS. Patient or Public Contribution: Patient and public involvement consisted of people who took part in the interviews and commented on the themes' interpretation and study conclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14108
JournalHealth Expectations
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • dismissal
  • gender
  • Long COVID
  • patient and public involvement
  • qualitative

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